Recruitment planning – Post-Pandemic-Crisis
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

People often say that everything in this world happens for a reason. Well, sometimes it’s hard to understand and often it can feel very unfair when you are the one that feels the full impact. Covid-19 indiscriminately affected so many of us. It all happened so quickly, that most of us had little time to adequately prepare. And now of course, many of us are already starting to contemplate, what happens next?

 

Looking ahead

The eternal optimist in me says that we need to start planning and to prepare for life after this crisis, because if we were a good company going into this situation, then we can potentially be an even better company coming out of it too.

This disruptive situation has provided most of us with an opportunity to reflect on everything, and assess our strengths and weaknesses. We at Smart Recruit Online will be making some fundamental operational and strategic business changes as a result of what has happened, that is for sure, and I have been looking at new tools and systems that we will need to help make that happen.

 

What’s next for Smart Recruit Online?

Our strengths and areas of expertise will certainly remain within Online Recruitment. Specifically, in talent attraction strategy and recruitment management and selection process and delivery.

Our credentials going into this crisis, saw us consistently outperform every other online recruitment service when it comes to key recruitment metrics, such as application volumes, quality of applicants, time and administration efficiencies and successful fulfilment rates from direct applications and we intend for it to stay that way.

 

Talent Attraction

 

Future challenges

There will be significant challenges ahead when it comes to post-pandemic recruitment of staff over the coming months, as we get back to some degree of normality. With unemployment predicted to skyrocket, impacting application numbers and quality, having efficient systems in place is going to be crucial.

Having the best possible recruitment solution in place to assist you post-pandemic, when the upturn arrives, doesn’t actually require a massive investment of time or cost. SRO have been helping dozens of hospitals all over the UK to recruit front line staff during the crisis and have onboarded entire teams in less than an hour. We also have a free version of our platform and very competitive, low cost options, for paying customers that want to activate a wider range of tools and services.

Anyone can trial our full suite of products and services free of charge for 3 months and use this opportunity to build a business case that is based on evidence and facts, not a fancy sales pitch.

I would like to invite you to join us for an online demonstration, on how you too can quickly and easily get ahead of the game and prepare for the post Covid-19 era.

You can take a tour and then delay the start of your trial until you have your first campaign ready to go, so there is nothing to pay now, just 30 minutes investment of your time to join one of our system specialists and do something that will potentially enable you to deal with the recruitment challenges that lay ahead far more effectively.

Good luck to you and your business, we hope that you and loved ones stay safe and well.

Mark Stephens

 

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book A Demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


SRO team up with peoplevalue to give small businesses FREE ACCESS to EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

We are delighted to announce that we are working with peoplevalue, one of the UK’s leading employee benefits companies, to give small businesses free access to their benefits solution myworkperks.

The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised just how important it is for businesses to look after their employees. Small businesses, who usually have less money and resources to support their employees in normal circumstances, are now also having to fight to survive in this new world that we’re living in. This means it’s even more difficult for them to provide the benefits and support their employees deserve.

To offer a helping hand in this challenging time, we’ve teamed up with peoplevalue to give small businesses free-for-life access to myworkperks, peoplevalue’s employee benefits solution.

 

Wellness and Mental Health

 

What is myworkperks?

myworkperks was designed by peoplevalue to make employee benefits accessible and affordable for small businesses. Businesses sign up via the myworkperks website. From there they can set up their very own benefits platform. This usually starts at a cost of £5 per employee, per month.

Benefits include shopping discounts, discounted cinema tickets and competitions. You will also have access to an internal recognition tool as well as a suite of wellbeing features. These range from a debt management service to online fitness classes.

 

Supporting small businesses

In this challenging time, it’s even more valuable for small businesses to be able to provide benefits and support that make their employees’ lives that bit easier. We’re delighted to be able to offer our small business contacts free access to myworkperks. You will need to enter the following promotional code SR2020 to register for free. Through the platform, their employees will be able to save money on their essential shopping at the supermarket, as well as a fantastic range of other benefits and wellbeing features.

To find out more about myworkperks, visit www.myworkperks.co.uk

Smart Recruit Online



3 Critical Considerations for Enabling Large-Scale Remote Work
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

We are now well into the COVID-19 pandemic. Borders are closed, public venues are shuttered, and people all over the world are being instructed to stay at home and isolate.  Businesses, meanwhile, are being forced to make the shift to a remote workforce, whether they want to or not.

To be fair, we knew that a telecommuting revolution was coming for quite some time.  Thanks to the advances in networking technology, it’s now easier than ever to stay connected to both colleagues and clients. Moreover, the portability of modern computing hardware and the availability of distributed cloud applications have together created greater worker empowerment than at any other point in modern history.

Unfortunately, the reality is that for many companies, remote work, particularly at the scale demanded by Coronavirus, is extremely challenging. For some, it may even verge on impossible. Even WordPress creator Automattic has found distributed work at such a scale to be difficult, as founder Matt Mullenweg acknowledged in a blog post earlier this month.

“[The situation is] not ideal on any level,” he explained. “Even at a remote-friendly company like Automattic, we rely on in-person team meetups and conferences to strengthen our connections and get work done. For now, we’ve cancelled all work-related travel.”

Given that this pandemic isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon, your business will need to deploy the necessary frameworks and policies to support remote staff. Because the alternative is to simply let everything grind to a halt. That’s not really an option.

 

The Cultural Shift Won’t Happen Overnight

In our experience, one of the most significant challenges with telework involves a cultural shift. When you support a remote workforce, you by definition allow everyone a certain level of flexibility. You also provide staff with much greater accountability and freedom than they would have in an office.

What we’re saying here is that micromanagers have no place in a distributed workforce, nor do traditional office hours. Outside of scheduling occasional meetings and touch-bases, you should allow your employees to work when, where, and how they choose. Offer them your trust, and hold them accountable for meeting their deadlines and fulfilling their responsibilities.

You might be surprised at how well they excel.

That said, distributed work is not for everyone. You’re bound to have a few staff who find the isolation stifling, even harmful to their mental health. Make sure to foster enough of a sense of community that people can easily connect with and reach out to one another, whether via a videoconferencing platform like Zoom or a chat app like Slack.

 

Mental Health

 

Decentralized Cybersecurity is a Must

As you might expect, remote work takes the idea of the traditional security perimeter and blows it out of the water. While there’s still a place for firewalls, access controls, and network security, these measures on their own are no longer enough. If you’re to enable remote employees in a way that keeps your data safe, you’ll also need the following.

  • File-centric security. Your IT department should have the ability to control, extend, and rescind file access and permissions with relative ease, and this functionality should be layered over sensitive assets in such a way that it does not interfere with workflows.
  • Secure tunnels. In the event that your staff must access on-site resources, you’ll want a means of protecting that remote access, such as a VPN, a virtual server, or an encrypted remote desktop.
  • Additional security software for staff. This may include a password manager, access to a premium antivirus, etc.
  • Mindfulness and accountability. Provide your staff with free access to documentation and training materials to help them recognize common phishing scams, especially those that try to leverage the fears of COVID-19.

 

Understand That This Could Be the New Normal

The world has already been forever changed by Coronavirus. Even once the pandemic dies down and the dust settles, telework will remain a fixture in many businesses, not just a competitive advantage but a baseline offering. While some staff will most definitely leap at the chance to return to the office and get back to business as usual, many others will continue working from home offices and other locales.

Don’t fight it. Embrace it. You have everything to gain from a distributed workforce, including and especially access to talent which might otherwise be inaccessible in a more traditional workplace.

 

About The Author

Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book A Demo

Max Emelianov


Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.


The Ideal Driver: How To Recruit A High-End Delivery Driver For Your Business
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Amazon have announced a temporary pay increase of £2 an hour for UK delivery drivers, and they’re currently hiring thousands of new employees in the US to cover the increase in demand for deliveries. Small retail businesses looking to keep up with the competition in the current climate may be considering how they can branch out into home deliveries. With pressure on existing courier services, it may not seem like the best time to offer home delivery, but local businesses could navigate the issue by recruiting in-house drivers. If you’re looking to hire only the best talent for your business, here’s what skills you need to look for when you’re recruiting a delivery driver.

 

Talent Attraction

 

The Basics: Driving And Vehicle Maintenance Knowledge

Any driver you hire for your business should be able to prove a clean driving licence, so make sure they bring this with them to interview. You can check their licence information online using a check code from the candidate and the last eight characters in their licence number. Prepare a checklist for the interview to ensure that candidates have no positive substance tests and no history of traffic violations. As well as a valid driving licence and no record of having had a suspended licence, they should also have no record of operating a vehicle without permission and no criminal record.

The ideal candidate will also know the basics of the vehicle they will be driving and be confident about carrying out minor repairs if necessary. If you will be providing them with an older vehicle, this is particularly important, as older cars and vans are more likely to run into problems, such as oil on their spark plug threads. If your driver spots this, for example, and knows that it can be a sign of something serious like faulty compression rings, the vehicle should be taken to a mechanic immediately. This will protect the efficiency of your deliveries and minimise the financial burden of repair. While this level of knowledge is not essential in a driver, recruiting someone with this skill can give your business the edge.

 

The Cutting Edge: Good Physical Shape

Any driver you employee will need good energy levels and focus in order to make deliveries both promptly and safely. Your business cannot afford time lost through unnecessary delays, and it’s important that the driver is safe at all times. Additionally, as they will be making deliveries as well as driving, they should be physically capable of lifting the deliveries and bending and carrying safely. Once you have hired your driver, you can provide them with training on safe lifting, but it’s important that they’re fit and healthy before they begin. Be mindful, however, of the fact that you are only legally allowed to ask a successful candidate to complete a health check if it’s a legal or insurance requirement. Make sure you include information about health checks in your offer letter and do not contact the candidate’s GP without their consent.

 

The Icing On The Cake: Good Customer Service Skills

An Ombudsman Services report estimated that UK businesses lose approximately £37 billion each year because of poor customer service. Customer care is vital to your business, so your new recruit should be courteous, personable, and willing to go the extra mile when interacting with a customer. To help you find this person, include interview questions about how they would appease an irate customer and how they would respond to a question they don’t know the answer to. Ask them to provide anecdotal evidence of times they’ve delivered good customer service.

Branching out into delivery is a big step for any small business, so finding the right driver is essential. However, in a world where home delivery is playing an ever-bigger role, investing the time and energy in doing this can make your business stand out above the rest.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable software platform integrated with multiple selection and screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

Lucy Wyndham


Lucy Wyndham is a freelance writer and editor.


UK Recruitment Industry launches NHS Initiative
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Without a doubt, the Coronavirus has hit UK businesses hard and in less than two weeks the recruitment industry has effectively been brought to its knees with online revenues being reduced by around 70% – almost literally, overnight.

Commenting on the crisis Mark Stephens, CEO at Smart Recruit Online (SRO) said, “Despite the issues we’re all facing at the moment we’re united in our battle to fight through this crisis, along with other industry sectors that have been hit just as hard and, in some cases, even worse than us.

On the front line, fighting the effects of this virus on a humanitarian level, are the NHS and its brave and courageous staff.  Unfortunately, they are already light on numbers as many NHS staff have contracted the virus and are now in isolation.  This is placing massive amounts of pressure on those remaining to cope with increasing casualties and a growing problem.

“Recruiting replacements and volunteers is a major challenge and the UK recruitment industry, despite its own predicament, is stepping up to do what it can to support this NHS staffing crisis.”

Mark has brought together recruitment industry leaders and has created a recruitment initiative which he is now driving forward.  Adds Mark, “Initially I decided to use the spare capacity I have within my own business to help address the front-line staffing issues affecting the NHS right now.  Then, I approached some of the major Job Boards to establish whether there was an appetite for a collaborative effort and the initiative was soon up and running.”

SRO will provide NHS Hospitals and Trusts with free access to its award-winning recruitment system, tools, screening and support services and the Job Boards and media channels have agreed to provide free advertising for NHS jobs posted from within the SRO platform.

Commenting on why he has created this initiative Mark says, “We are in a privileged position where our businesses can combine our efforts to help and support the NHS, without actually placing ourselves into harms’ way.  The NHS and its staff are amazing.  They are our front line troops in protecting the most vulnerable and those affected by this virus.  We are proud to be part of the UK recruitment sector that has put aside its own difficulties and challenges to collaborate on such a worthwhile initiative.”

Theakreh Mosley, Talent Acquisition Lead, NHS Property Services who is tasked with recruiting hundreds of replacement staff across the UK for administrators, cleaners and kitchen staff said, “You guys are amazing.  Thank you so much, we really appreciate your help through this initiative.”

So how will SRO and its collaborators be able to help the NHS?  Mark explains, “The SRO platform will act as central cloud-based, plug and play recruitment system.  It is designed to make the recruitment of staff simpler and more effective than any other means of recruiting staff online.  The system is integrated with the latest AI, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics to automate large parts of the recruitment process so that it delivers a better user and applicant experience and will save NHS recruiters lots of time during their screening and selection process.  The system also comes pre-integrated with some of the latest recruitment screening tools too, including dynamic forms, video profiling, behavioural assessments and reference and ID checking.  The video technology enables remote interviewing capability and SRO, uniquely, allows clients to onboard and complete basic training in less than an hour.  This is something that will prove critical in maximising the number of NHS functions that will be able to take advantage of this service and offer.

“The SRO platform is fully integrated with leading Recruitment Technology provided by Broadbean and Burning Glass that will allow NHS recruiters to rapidly create and post job adverts, manage and screen applicants effectively and quickly for front line NHS positions.  This will all be complemented by free national recruitment advertising media provided by the UK’s leading job boards including CV Library, Reed, Totaljobs, Guardian Jobs, Monster and JobsToday.  With such a strong collaboration, we are confident that we’ll be able to positively contribute to the recruitment of key NHS staff that are essential in enabling us to fight  Coronavirus.”

 

Quotes generated By Industry Leaders on this initiative:

 

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library added, “These are truly challenging times and sadly the recruitment industry is feeling the effects.  However, we’re also part of the solution.  By harnessing our expertise and working together with companies like Smart Recruit Online we can help the NHS to tackle what lies ahead and recruit the front line staff our country so desperately needs.  We’re delighted to be a part of this initiative and to help push these roles in front of the 15 million candidates in our database, including 1.1 million healthcare professionals.”

Ruth Edwards, Business Development Director at Talent in Logistics commented saying, “Dealing with the outbreak of Covid-19 is a big enough challenge for the logistics sector.  There is a high demand on the supply chain, with the need to keep shops, hospitals and fuel stations stocked.  In these unusual times, we understand that extra resource and staff are needed to fulfil operational and delivery requirements and are, therefore, delighted to be part of this important initiative.”

“Our goals are clear,” concluded Mark.  “We will assist the NHS wherever we can in the recruitment of staff to ensure that front line positions are filled quickly.”

 

How you can help

 

  • NHS – If you work within the NHS and need to recruit front line staff, then call 0800 634 1818 and speak to the Smart Recruit Online team who will get you set up quickly and your jobs live within 24 hours.

 

 

  • General public – Please share this information with your entire network.  We need to get this message in front of as many NHS recruiting staff as possible

Smart Recruit Online



Defining the Art of Talent Attraction
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Talent Attraction strategy is much more than just media acquisition, multi-posting and attracting applicants.

There is a defined art to delivering each component associated with successful talent attraction so that it optimises the outcomes during each stage of the process.

The art and techniques should be influenced by data and research, human behavioural science and tried and tested methods.

 

 

It basically consists of 3 primary elements:

 

MAXIMISING VIEWS OF YOUR JOB

 

Media Range: The breadth and range of media channels that your job actually goes out to.

Media Selection:  An evidence-based approach to selecting the right media channels where your prospective applicants are most likely to visit and that give you the best ROI.

 

GENERATING MORE APPLICATIONS

 

Improved Visibility: Increasing visibility within each media channel by manipulating the search engine, so that your job appears higher in the results, thus generating more views.

Increased conversion: Maximising applications by converting more views into actual applicants through better copywriting techniques.

 

job advert writing

 

BETTER RETENTION

 

Improved Capture: Avoiding the loss of any applicants in the first stage of the application process.

Improved Engagement: Avoiding early drop off immediately after the application takes place by deploying a reward and nurture strategy.

 

Getting all of this right for each individual job certainly isn’t easy, but many online recruiters consistently get this very wrong.

 

Working with our clients to generate significant tangible improvements in this area is certainly one of the most rewarding parts of what we do.

 

 

At SRO we have refined every single part of the talent attraction process, in order to optimise results and get more jobs filled with higher quality direct applications.

From job creation, channel selection, styling and tone, to applicant experience. We ensure that every touchpoint with each prospective candidate is designed to increase the probability of a positive outcome. To find out more request a demonstration of our platform. 

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


Enabling people to be their best by naming the stress
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

A guide to managing workplace stress by Felicia Jones.

Have you ever felt stressed, I mean really, really stressed? But then, something funny happens; you see a child dancing or hear someone on the radio and somehow the former feeling seems to have disappeared? The question is, were you ever really stressed before, or was it something else?

Most people would attest to feeling stressed at times. It could be because of something that’s touching them personally or maybe it’s the stories you hear in the media. It could also be something that’s affecting a family member or friend. But here’s the thing. Stress is not homogenous in nature or even uniform as a term.

When we use or relate to stress in a homogenised way, we can confuse, or devalue its meaning. By doing this we can unknowingly, actually cause even more ‘stress’. What I’m hoping to do here, is to untangle, in brief, the treads that bind the term stress to intangibles and unknowns. It’s important that we do this and do away with umbrella terms. This enables us to more accurately pinpoint and verbalise what we and others are truly experiencing. In so doing, we have a much better chance of being able to deal with the real issue, properly.

 

What is Stress?

The word stress has become an umbrella term, synonymous with words which actually much better, fit what we’re truly feeling. This may be; overwhelmed, anxious, tired, fatigued, bored, scared, dreading, fearful, grief or sadness and much much more. If we could more accurately name what we’re experiencing, then we’d be more likely to be able to ‘claim it’, ‘see it’ and ‘do something with and about it’. One area that this is really important in, is the area of work.

 

Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK

 

According to the HSE, 28.2 million days (2018/19) are lost every year due to work-related ill- health and a staggering £9.8billion lost to employers in costs. In years gone by, we’ve been used to hearing ‘work-related ill-health’ and maybe thinking of accidents or injuries. But what we’re actually talking about here, is stress-related illness. In fact, workplace injury only accounted for 4.7 million days lost.

The HSE also pinpoint stress-inducing situations, like those that we may be familiar with, ie, those of overstimulation. Here an individual finds it hard to cope with increased demands or expectations. However, The World Health Organisation (WHO) the leading authority on world health and wellbeing, suggests that there are varying areas which induce work-related stress and some may actually relate to under-stimulation. There are three areas of importance to consider:

 

Content

Here an individual may find it difficult to cope with monotony, lack of variety, under-stimulation or what they perceive as ‘meaningless’ tasks. Or they may feel that they are unable to contribute to decision-making processes. These situations may be particularly relevant to graduates, who are eager to make their mark in their first or second job but struggle to navigate the change from highly singular academic to team orientation. Or, for the returnee parent who was managing a household but finds that these skills do not necessarily translate in the same way within the workplace. What is important is to recognise, not only that these situations may induce ‘stress’, but more importantly the terminology the employee uses to describe the stress as this is something that can actually be actioned.

 

Context

Here individuals may feel uncertain of where they fit into the organisation. Or some may be struggling with home-work-life balance but feel unable to express it. Contrarily, achieving a much sought after promotion can actually be stress-inducing. This is not due to the additional responsibility, but rather the transition and adjustment and the impact it has on existing relationships. Having a safe space, if not with the line manager, then with HR to voice may be particularly useful.

 

Respect

What is interesting, is the area of respect and acknowledgement. It is an innate desire which most humans crave and is actually the fourth tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Its sits way above the need for salary, food and shelter. A 2007 presentation by Semmer, on recognition and respect, suggests that; ‘(people) go to great pains to defend their personal esteem and social self-esteem’. Furthermore, research by Tessema et al (2013) linked recognition as an important facet of job satisfaction. They stated that ‘people who feel appreciated are more positive about themselves and their ability to contribute’. It is important to note that there may be cultural variations to this and that financial compensation is also a contributory factor. However, recognition may be an under-utilised tool in boosting employee self-esteem and combating experiences that an employee may consider stressful.

workplace culture

 

Stress in and of itself is merely a biochemical reaction induced by internal or external stimuli. The body is wired to maintain a steady-state of homeostasis. Here ph levels, temperature, tissue viscosity and repair, metabolism, maintenance of commensal bacteria and emotional and physical stresses amongst other factors, are all kept in a healthy range. Anything beyond this state creates not only a stressor for the body but also a potential danger.

In maintaining homeostasis, the body utilises many different systems (or pathways). There are a few pathways for stress, but a critical factor is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). In short, when someone experiences a stressor, the brain signals to the adrenal glands that action is required to combat the stress. In reaction, the body then releases the most appropriate chemicals to induce action and eventually return the body to homeostasis.

 

Fight or Flight

Most people are now aware of the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ state. Particularly in the former, the body needs rapid glucose for brain processing and simultaneously to activate muscle tissue contraction. However, for someone who is chronically bored or feeling devalued at work, the emotions of frustration and internal anger may similarly induce a fight or flight state. This is another reason why it’s really important to use language accurately because differing pathways often cross or interact. They may start with a similar initial root, however, produce differing feelings that can be confused, such as depression and anxiety or physical pain with elation or cold and fear.

Even if only sitting at the desk, the body will utilise the same mechanisms required to address a fire or a verbal onslaught. It will initially release adrenaline and glucose and insulin and overtime cortisol as the perception is of a ‘real’ danger to the body’s survival. But ultimately, for an individual sitting at a desk, ruminating rather than speaking out or acting, they risk having stress chemicals accumulate in the body. This then creates the body to continually signal action requests in order to navigate out of the situation. This is where people begin to get sick with tension headaches, gut problems, sleep problems and fear-based anxiety. Simply being able to accurately say what the actual problem is, can help to turn things around.

 

Some useful tips

Access the right words. A simple thing which teachers and parents use and may sound condescending to adults, but may actually help, is to say (in the nicest way); ‘use your words’. In line with this, it’s very useful to have an emotional vocabulary sheet to help people access what they are actually feeling.

Identify the stressor. This may be as simple as ‘I struggle going into a meeting’ or  ‘I feel that saying ‘no’ or ‘I can’t’ will be seen as a weakness and marked against me.’ Or for some, it may be something at home, or sometimes going into a similar situation in which someone has failed before. By accurately identifying the stressor, mechanisms can be put in place to address it.

Good nutrition. A healthy brain and gut (where serotonin the ‘feel-good chemical’ develops) creates healthy, active individuals. Most workplaces have cakes and biscuits available all of the time But simply having a variety of fruit, water and some healthy nut bars, can help people to sustain their energy. This not only prevents people from getting into energy peaks and troughs which actually induce internal stress for the body but also makes them more alert.

Encourage breaks. Energy is created by oxygenating the body. Simply encouraging staff to get some fresh air actually creates a greater level of energy in the body and can help to reduce feelings of stress. It is challenging when running a business to spend time with each employee, but by encouraging staff to talk to each other and by fostering community and allowing open and honest communication, respect and self-esteem can be further developed.

 

For a long time, the emphasis on making improvements in the workplace has been on increasing opportunity and making physical adjustments. These are important. However, simple measures such as helping staff to accurately pinpoint what their actual issues are can be a way of reducing work-place stress and creating a more productive workforce.

 

References:

Semmer, N K., 2007. ‘Psychology of Work and Organizations, Recognition and Respect (or lack thereof) as predictors of occupational health and well-being. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/recognitionrespect140207.pdf Accessed: 20th February 2020

Tessema, M., Ready K J., and Embaye A, 2013. ‘The Effects of Employee Recognition, Pay, and Benefits on Job Satisfaction: Cross Country Evidence, Journal of Business and Economics. [online] Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d999/306d685a85cbe2232a844f8415a689e985f0.pdf

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

Felicia Jones


Felicia Jones is a (BSc) qualified Nutritionist, Stress Management Trainer (Dip), Nutritional Supervisor, Speaker and the owner of Stress Less Living (www.stresslessliving.co.uk) a nutrition and stress management practice. Felicia works with people on a 1-1 basis, in groups and also provides educational workshops and talks. Her ethos is primarily of meeting people wherever they are on their health journey, without judgement. Then working with them collaboratively to; reduce stress, integrate better nutrition and enable the restoration of full health.


Under Pressure: Do We Thrive Or Choke When Stressed?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

All of us are under pressure at some point in our lives. Chronic, or long-term stress is often the result of high-expectations; usually in a job role. Other ‘acute’ moments of stress may be single-events. This could be having to give a speech, make a presentation, or meet a tight deadline. It is how we deal with the pressure that is important, and that which has captivated psychologists in recent years.

 

A tale of two mindsets

Most people can be divided up into two camps. There are those with a ‘positive’ stress mindset and those with a ‘negative’ stress mindset. If you ever attended university, you might recognise the positive stress-heads. The ones who crammed an entire paper or exam’s worth of notes into one long-night before the deadline. These are the people who tend to think of stress as a challenge. They use it as an opportunity to strengthen motivation, sharpen the mind, and really achieve something.

In contrast, those with ‘negative’ stress mindsets view the entire phenomenon as unpleasant and negative. Not surprisingly, this view is harmful to the body. People with negative mindsets are more likely to engage in self-deprecating humour, which actually invokes more distress. Worse, they tend to go into a situation admitting defeat. When a person already has low expectations of themselves and the work they are doing, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The sufferer tends to sink down to those low expectations.

 

Making the negative positive 

It isn’t surprising that positive mindset-people are less likely to be stressed out in the wake of difficult life events. But there is hope for their negative peers — because there are ways to unlearn the negative mindset. For example, after listening to a presentation on how stress is actually a good thing, even the most negatively minded people performed better when placed under stressful situations.

Another — albeit strange — remedy for negative stress is to get scared instead. Studies have shown that watching horror movies can temporarily calm the brain, and “recalibrate” emotions. In fact, the more stressed a person was before watching a film, the calmer they felt afterwards.

Time pressure also has the curious quality of being able to make people act more like themselves and to improve decision-making. One study by Fandong Chang and Ian Krajbich forced their volunteers into making tough decisions with money. The more selfish individuals acted more selfishly under time pressure, and the more prosocial people acted more socially. Perhaps crucially, the same study found that, under great time pressure, the experts often make the correct decisions.

 

Under pressure, together

Impending moments of acute stress can be very unpleasant, even for more positively minded people. Impending moments can be as varied as a surgeon waiting to go into surgery theatre, to a singer anxiously stepping out in front of a large audience to perform.

What can make the difference between thriving and choking? Research suggests that a text message from a close friend, family member or partner really can help a lot. One study, carried out by psychologist Emily Hooker, found that a simple text message can help to reduce heart rates and blood pressure. The message doesn’t even have to be particularly supportive! Even generic messages work, as long as they remind the brain that there’s someone out there who cares, regardless of what it is they are saying. In the event that no message is received, just visualising someone who you can rely on also works to calm the brain.

Other, not-so-obvious ways to bring down stress in the workplace is to simply make support services available. In a similar way to the mundane text messages above, employees don’t even have to use any of the services for their stress levels to drop. Just knowing that there are counsellors or equipment, or systems in place is enough to reduce the negative mindset of stress.

 

Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK

 

The razor-thin difference between success and failure

A common occurrence in high-profile sporting events is for a sportsperson to suddenly choke under pressure. This phenomenon happens when the pressure becomes overwhelming and can lead to a rapid deterioration in technical ability. Male athletes are more than twice as likely to choke when the pressure gets too much. This is because men suffer bigger spikes in the stress-related hormone cortisol when they become stressed.

But there is another stress-related phenomenon in high-profile sports that you might not know about. It is the opposite of choking — psychologists call it ‘clutch performance’. Athletes who experience clutch performance excel under pressure, not the other way round. An analysis of athletes who all showed signs of clutch performance reported feeling completely involved in their task. They become unaware of everything except their objectives — even the audience. But the most important thing that each of the athletes described was this: in such circumstances, they visualise success and never thought about what the consequences would be if they failed.

This feeds back into recent research carried out by the psychologist Vikram Chib. Vikram concluded that altering how you look at the stakes can dramatically reduce the chances of choking. It really is mind over matter, in many cases.

 

Conclusion

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have either a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ stress mindset. This can greatly determine your behaviour in times of pressure. The former naturally have it easier, but not to worry. Negative stress can be unlearned and even turned into a positive thing.

There is still much research to be done but, in the meantime, if you happen to be facing a particularly difficult situation, why not try embracing it — as an opportunity to thrive, develop and grow — and imagine first and foremost, that you have already succeeded?

 

This article was written by Neil Wright of De-Risk, a strategic programme risk management company based in Surrey, UK.

 

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This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq


Large vs Small Businesses: Which Is Better For Your Mental Health?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Many of us — an estimated 10 million in Britain — work in medium-to-large sized organisations. Companies which employ between 250 and 1,000 staff. But the most common source of employment remains small businesses. And very small businesses at that: about 13 million Brits earn their living in organisations with workforces that average around just five people.

Obviously, as anyone who has made the jump from small to large business (or vice versa) can tell you, life can be very different at these two ends of the employment spectrum. But which is better for employee wellbeing and mental health? As it stands, far more research has been compiled on the functions of large businesses, the government’s own civil servants, in particular. But with investigations of small businesses finally catching up, a picture is beginning to emerge that might reveal a definite answer.

 

The power of trust

Large organisations, which often have more money to invest, often provide valuable training and avenues for their employees’ development and progression. Yet at the same time, employees tend to be suspicious of larger companies and trust them less. This may be down to two reasons: one is a simple matter of size and communication. That it is difficult to always communicate clearly to larger bodies of teams. The second is that larger corporations can be more ‘political’, with their being inevitable winners and losers divided along these political lines.

To contrast this with smaller business or self-employed workers, there are much higher levels of trust, job satisfaction and job involvement. But there are also higher levels of conflict between the spheres of home and work. In the initial advantages of flexible home working and more autonomy, there are also jarring gender differences. With women tending to be more than likely the ones with the highest home/work conflict.

While it is true that more autonomy and control over one’s work can help to reduce stress levels. The problem is that small business-based workers report having so much more of it. And with these heavier workloads comes — paradoxically — raised cortisol (stress) levels. Small business-based workers have also reported increased loneliness and isolation than their larger-organisational counterparts.

 

Company Culture

 

 

The power of performance

As larger organisations struggle to communicate with their employees. It should not be surprising that they also struggle to recognise the individual contributions of their hardest workers. The resulting effect is that people often feel like they are nothing more than invisible cogs in a huge machine. Efforts to identify hard work, such as performance management systems and KPIs, are only understood to have short term benefits. In the long run, asymmetric salaries, bonuses, and promotions, only serve to punish and demoralize workers who feel they’ve been left behind.

Competitive cultures can make the workplace an unpleasant environment, and drive out pro-social behaviour. And if the competition is valued above learning and development this can lead to what is known as ‘knowledge hoarding’. Where team members guard the secrets to their success to ward off rivals.

Mastery Climates

Small businesses, on the other hand, tend to lean toward so-called ‘mastery climates’, which are the opposite of knowledge hoarding ones. Here people are encouraged to emphasise learning and collaborations with co-workers. Yet that doesn’t mean mastery climates are only available to small businesses. On the contrary, such a climate can be replicated by local managers able to implement model knowledge sharing behaviours by putting a great degree of trust in the employees. In large organisations, positive organisation and support can go a great deal to overcome the conflict that can come about in hierarchies.

 

The power of ‘job crafting’

It seems that there are not a lot of opportunities to determine what and how the work is done in larger, hierarchical businesses. The result is that work is often fragmented into smaller pieces for employees to work on. Who then fail to realise the bigger picture and the true meaning of the work carried out.

‘Job crafting’ has been shown to be effective in helping to not only retain staff. But also in engaging them and enhancing their happiness levels. Crafting in itself does nothing to reduce the demands of the job, but it does force employees to think about the resources they have and to engage and use them more effectively. This type of crafting is more familiar with smaller businesses (though it isn’t a guarantee), but there is no reason why it couldn’t be implemented into larger businesses under local managers as well.

Job crafting also encourages greater co-operation and dialogue between employees. And can help to unravel a toxic work atmosphere and reduce feelings of isolation in smaller businesses.

 

Some thoughts and reflections

There are advantages and disadvantages to working in both large organisations and smaller businesses. It is too simplistic and unfair to say that working in large hierarchical businesses is bad for employees within them. After all, working freelance, or for small companies can also be depleting and bad for mental health. What is crucial to good mental health, is that all employees recognise or find meaning in what they do. After all, work plays a hugely important role in our personal identity and wellbeing. So does making sure that we are paid well, and fairly, for the tasks at hand.

What is equally important is that, whether one is working for a large or small business, there are positive organisational supports in place. Support in the way jobs are designed, and executed; preferably by good local leaders. The use of fairer ways to track performance management is also very important. Especially if it is to lead to the development of a ‘mastery climate’.

 

This article was written by Neil Wright of Re-Space, an office refurbishment and fit-out company located in Kent, UK. 

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Neil.Wright@smartrecrooot.com'
Neil Wright


This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq


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